Beaulieu Vineyard Give & Give Back Chef Challenge
Maybe there’s always a bit of a buzz in the air when a celebrity is nearby, or maybe it was just the wine; either way the crowd at the BV Give & Give Back Chef Challenge was in bubbly spirits on World Food Day. The good-cause event was held on October 16 at the Institute of Culinary Education by actor Chris Noth and Beaulieu Vineyard to garner awareness for world hunger.
It turns out Noth is a super-chill guy backing an undeniably worthy cause. I had a chance to speak to him (in the kitchen, of course) about his interest in the cause, and he lent some insight. “We celebrate food. Everyone is up to their necks in food. Then you find out 17 million children go to bed hungry every night, and you think it can’t be possible.” said Noth. “My job is awareness, which means using my piddly, bullshit celebrity to try to do something decent for the world.”
For the challenge, four chefs competed in a 30-minute cooking competition to create meals made mainly of ingredients you could find at local food pantries. Non-profit AmpleHarvest.org and City Harvest, a food rescue organization that collects excess from the food industry and delivers the food to community programs throughout New York, helped provide the ingredient list. Participating chefs were Executive Chef Orlando Sanchez of Butcher Bar, Executive Chef Luke Venner of BLT Fish Shack, Corporate Chef Jose Luis Flores of Richard Sandoval Restaurants, and Executive Chef Pecko Zantilaveevan of The Four Seasons.
While enjoying wine and tasty hors d’oeuvres, guests were free to roam around and watch the chefs create their masterpieces. When the time was up, the judges tasted all of the dishes in quick succession so each dish was still warm. Noth was one of those judges, along with Gary Oppenheimer, Executive Director and Founder of AmpleHarvest.org, Cindy Avila, PR Director at the Culinary Institute (Avila was also a former NY1 News Anchor, former competitor on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and winner of TLC’s “Dinner Takes All”), and Sabrina Sexton, Lead Chef Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education.
A winner was announced, Chef Luke Venner from BLT Fish Shack’s recipe of Warm Potato and Kale Salad with Green Goddess and Poached Eggs, and a $10,000 donation (via a larger-than-life sized check) was given to food-charity Grow NYC in Venner’s name on behalf of BV.
If you want to get involved, from now until the end of the year, you can text “Give” to 79008, and BV will donate $1 up to $50,000 to AmpleHarvest.org to aid in hunger relief. (Message and data rates may apply.)